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Publication numberUS3873170 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 25, 1975
Filing dateJul 23, 1973
Priority dateJul 23, 1973
Also published asCA1010488A1
Publication numberUS 3873170 A, US 3873170A, US-A-3873170, US3873170 A, US3873170A
InventorsHodges Ronald R, Scheerhorn Douglas
Original AssigneeSteelcase Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Attachment means for modular furniture construction
US 3873170 A
Abstract
A wing unit is joined to a desk by a bracket system in which a first bracket is joined to the desk top, a second bracket is joined to the wing unit and the two brackets are joined to one another. The desk top bracket includes two generally parallel flanges joined by a step flange, each flange including means for joining to the wing unit bracket. The wing unit bracket is generally channel-shaped, including two spaced generally parallel flanges, each being adapted for joining to either of the flanges of the desk top bracket. The desk top bracket can be oriented with either of its flanges adjacent the wing unit, and this adjacent flange can be joined to either the top or bottom flange of the wing unit bracket, thereby making it possible to join together desks and wing units of several different relative heights.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Scheerhorn et al.

[ Mar. 25, 1975 Inventors: Douglas Scheerhorn, Grand Rapids; Ronald R. Hodges, Grandville, both of Mich.

Assignee: Steelcase, lnc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Filed: July 23, 1973 Appl. No.: 381,911

U.S. Cl. 312/280, 312/281 Int. Cl A47b 96/06 Field of Search 312/194, 195, 196, 197,

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1959 Bullock 312/194 X 3,192,884 7/1965 Hamilton ct al. 312/194 X 3,207,097 9/1965 Schreyer 312/194 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 347,318 8/1960 Switzerland 312/195 OTHER PUBLICATIONS Dr Instruction Sheet-DR9134- Rev. 12-1 67.

Primary Examiner-Paul R. Gilliam Assistant Examiner-Carl Pietruszka Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Price, Heneveld, Huizenga & Cooper ABSTRACT A wing unit is joined to a desk by a bracket system in which a first bracket is joined to the desk top, a sec- 0nd bracket is joined to the wing unit and the two brackets are joined to one another. The desk top bracket includes two generally parallel flanges joined by a step flange, each flange including means for joining to the wing unit bracket. The wing unit bracket is generally channel-shaped, including two spaced generally parallel flanges, each being adapted for joining to either of the flanges of the desk top bracket. The desk top bracket can be oriented with either of its flanges adjacent the wing unit, and this adjacent flange can be joined to either the top or bottom flange of the wing unit bracket, thereby making it possible to join together desks and wing units of several different relative heights.

13 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures ATTACHMENT MEANS FOR MODULAR FURNITURE CONSTRUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to furniture systems such as desks and wing units therefor. Specifically, it relates to means for attaching such wing units to desks.

Generally, some type of bracket is used to join a wing unit to a desk. The bracket may hook over the drawer of a desk, or it may be connected directly to the desk top. While many desk and wing unit combinations are available, each requires its own specifically designed bracket. One bracket is required where the desk top and wing unit are generally the same height and another bracket is required for each situation in which the desk top and wing unit top are of a different relative heights. Desks and wing units of several different relative heights require several different specifically de signed brackets for each combination.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprises a bracket system for use in conjunction with a furniture system in which desks and wing units have several different heights relative to one another. A single bracket system can be employed to join wing units and desks of several different relative heights. This development is especially useful in a new furniture system in which the desk top of the desk can be positioned at several different alternative levels and in which the desk top can even be tilted. This system is described in several copending applications assigned to the assignee of this invention, all filed on June 1, 1973, and entitled END PANEL SUPPORT SYSTEM", Ser. No. 366,218 SUSPENDED PEDES- TAL DESK, Ser. No. 366,155, and TILTABLE DESK TOP, Ser. No. 366,161. It is also conceivable that the invention can be employed in connection with desks and wing units of differing relative heights, even though the different units are not designed to be part of a single system.

These objectives are accomplished by a bracket system in which a first bracket is joined to a desk and a second bracket is joined to the wing unit. Joining means join the first and second brackets together in either one of a first and second position with respect to one another, said first and second positions placing the securing means whereby the brackets are secured to their respective desk and wing unit on different levels. In this manner, these two brackets can be used to attach together desks and wing units of at least two different relative heights.

Preferably, at least one of the brackets includes first and second joining points for cooperating alternatively with the joining means. The bracket is adapted for se curing to its respective desk or wing unit with either its first or second joining points in position adjacent the other brackets. The first and second joining points are on different levels whereby still a larger number of wing units and desks of different relative heights can be joined together.

Another unique feature of the present invention constitutes a trim piece which can be used to hide the two brackets and the joining means joining them together. This trim piece projects outwardly from the end of the top of the wing unit and completely covers the bracket joined to the wing unit; The bracket joined to the desk top has spaced flanges projecting in opposite direction,

the first joining point being positioned onone of the flanges and the second joining point being positioned on the other. Because of this arrangement, the trim piece will always cover the protruding flange of the desk top bracket, since the flange which is not being used will be projecting rearwardly to a position beneath the desk top.

These and other objects, advantages and features of the invention will be more fully understood and appreeluted by reference to the written specification and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTlON-OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 shows a desk and wing unit of the type which can be joined together by the bracket system of this invention;

FIG. 2 shows a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken generally along the plane II-II of FIG. 1, with the bracket system adapted to join a desk and wing unit having the greatest difference in height;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the same plane as FIG. 2 with the bracket system adapted to join a desk and wing unit having an intermediate difference in height;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the same plane as FIG. 2 with the bracket system adapted to support a desk and wing unit having a generally similar height; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the same plane as FIG. 2 with the bracket adapted to join a wing unit to the desk where the desk top is tilted on an incline.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the preferred embodiment, desk 10 is joined to wing unit 20 by Z bracket 30 and channel bracket 40 (FIGS. 1 and 2). Z" bracket 30 is bolted to desk top 11 by bolts 50, and channel bracket 40 is bolted to wing unit top 21 by bolts 60. The two brackets are joined together by joining bolts 70. They can be joined together in a first position as shown in FIG. 2, or in a second position as shown in FIG. 3, with the result that desks and wing units of differing relative heights can be joined by the same two brackets. Z" bracket 30 can be reversed so that its longer flange 31 projects outwardly (FIG. 4). This makes it possible to join a desk and wing unit of yet a third different relative height. A trim piece joined to wing unit 20 covers the two brackets at their joining point and includes a depressed face 83 which allows room for desk top 11 to be tilted in the manner shown in FIG. 5.

Desk 10 includes a top 11 which can be mounted thereon at three different heights (compare FIGS. 2, 3, and 4). In the broader aspects of this invention, the

brackets 30 and 40 could be used in conjunction with three completely different desks having tops at three different levels. Alternatively, the wing units depicted in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 could be three different wing units of three different heights. However, the attachment system is specifically designed for use in conjunction with a desk 10 whose top 11 can be adjusted to three different heights or can be oriented on a slope as shown in FIG. 5. The specific means whereby these different configurations are achieved are more fully described in three copending applications, all assigned to the assignee of this invention and all filed on June 1, 1973, the three applications being entitled END PANEL 3 SUPPORT SYSTEM, Ser. No. 366,218, SUS- PENDED PEDESTAL DESK, Ser. No. 366,155, and TILTABLE DESK TOP, Ser. No. 366,161.

Top 11 includes a beam 12 depending downwardly therefrom to which Z bracket 30 is actually secured (FIGS. 2-5). Beam 12 defines a recess 13 therebehind into which a portion of Z bracket 30 can be positioned when Z bracket 30 is oriented as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Beam 12 is a generally channel-shaped length of steel which is secured to top 11 by bolting, welding, or the like. A trim channel 14 is used to cover beam 12 to thereby provide an attractive exterior appearance for the desk.

Wing unit includes a top 21 supported in conventionalfashion (FIGS. 2-5). Top 21 is generally conventional, including a sheet of plastic laminate 25 adhered to a sheet of metal 26. Sheet metal 26 is welded to supporting metal beams 27. A generally channel-shaped steel end piece 22 is secured to the end of top 21 to provide a means whereby channel bracket 40 and trim piece 80 can be secured to top 21. It is secured by being welded to sheet metal 26 at its top and to metal beams 27 along its edges. End piece 22 includes holes therein for receiving the self tapping screws or bolts 60 and 85 which perform the securing functions. It is readily accessible from the end and bottom of top 21. A wooden wing unit top might also be employed, in which case wood screw counterparts for bolts 60 and 85 would be threaded directly into the wooden top.

2" bracket 30 is so named because of a generally Z configuration. It is approximately as long as top 21 of wing unit 20 is wide. It includes a long flange 31 and a generally parallel short flange 32, the two flanges being joined together by a step flange 33 and projecting in opposite directions from step flange 33. Long flange 31 and short flange 32 project in opposite directions so that when one is projecting into position adjacent channel bracket 40, the other is projecting rearwardly away from the front edge of desk 10 and is hidden from view in a position generally underneath desk top 11.

2" bracket 30 is formed of metal by bending. Long flange 31 includes bolt holes 34 therein for receiving top bolt 50. Both long flange 31 and short flange 32 include a plurality of bolt holes 35 therein for receiving, in the alternative, joining bolts 70 which are used to join Z bracket 30 to channel bracket 40.

In an alternative embodiment, Z" bracket 30 includes a longer long flange 31 for use in conjunction with a wider beam 12. In such a case, a third row of holes 34 is provided between hole 34 and hole 35 as shown in FIG. 2. This intermediate row of holes would be used for bolt 50 when the alternative embodiment Z" bracket 30 were reversed and positioned as shown in FIG. 4 or FIG. 5. Openings 34 and 35 in the long and short flanges of Z bracket 30 cooperatively form joining portions with beam 12 and channel bracket when secured thereto by joining bolts and 70.

Channel bracket 40 is formed of steel by bending and comprises a base wall 41, top flange 42, and bottom flange 43. It is approximately as long as top 21 of wing unit 20 is wide. Base wall 41 includes a bolt hole 44 therein for receiving wing unit bolt 60. Wing unit bolt 60 is passed through wing unit bolt hole 44 and into wing unit end piece 22. In this manner, channel bracket 40 is secured to wing unit 20.

Both the top and bottom flanges 42 and 43, respectively, of channel bracket 40 include a plurality of holes 45 for receiving self tapping joining bolts 70. As a result, Z bracket 30 can be joined either to top flange 42 or to bottom flange 43 by joining bolts 70. In the broader aspects of the invention, it would be sufficient if bracket 40 were only L shaped, having a base and a leg flange. The bracket could be reversed so as to put the projecting leg flange either on the top or on the bottom of the base depending on the manner in which the bracket were to be joined to Z bracket 30. However, it is preferable that bracket 40 be channel shaped, having top and bottom flanges, so that it does not have to be inverted or readjusted at any time.

Trim piece is formed of metal by bending. It includes a base wall 81 having a plurality of holes therein through which wing unit bolts 60 pass. Base wall 81 is sandwiched between channel bracket 40 and wing unit end piece 22 to thereby hold trim piece 80 in place. Alternatively, trim piece 80 is welded to channel bracket 40. A foot flange 86 extends laterally from the base bf base wall 81, extending beneath end piece 22. It includes a plurality of holes therein through which pass bolts which thread into the bottom of end piece This further secures trim piece 80. i

Base wall 81 is sufficiently tall that it extends to; a point generally flush with the top surface of wing unit top 21. It then projects laterally away therefrom for a short distance and then jogs downwardly to define. a ridge 82 along the end edge of wing unit top 21. Projecting from ridge 82 is a slightly depressed face 83. It is depressed below the level of top 21. The reason that face 82 is depressed is to allow one to tilt desk top 1p, even when wing unit top 21 is in its uppermost position (compare FIGS. 4 and 5). j

In operation, desk top 11 can be positioned at three different heights. In FIG. 2, desk top 11 is positioned at its uppermost level. In order to attach wing unit 20 thereto, Z bracket 30 is bolted to beam 12 by bolts 50 with step flange 33 projecting downwardly therefrom and with short flange 32 projecting towards wing unit top 21. Short flange 32 is slipped in beneath face 81 of trim piece 80 and above top flange 42 of channel bracket 40. Channel bracket 40 is already bolted to end piece 22 of wing unit top 21 by bolts 60. Short flan e 32 is securely fastened to top flange 42 by threading bolts 70 through holes 45 and into holes 35 of short flange 32. I

In FIG. 3, desk top 11 has been mounted in its intermediate position. To facilitate the attachment of wing unit 20, Z bracket 30 is secured to beam 12 in the same manner as shown in FIG. 2. However, short flange 32 is bolted to bottom flange 43 of channel bracket 40 rather than to top flange 42. Because brackets 30 and 40 can be joined together in two different relative positions which place their points of securance to their respective desks and wing units at different relative levels, desk top 11 and wing unit top 21 can have two different relative heights and still be joined together.

In FIG. 4, desk top 11 is mounted in its lower-most position. To secure wing unit 20 to desk 10, Z bracket 30 is disassembled from beam 12 and is reversed in orientation, both from front to rear and from top to bottom. Thus, step flange 33 projects upwardly into position in recess 13 behind beam 12. Similarly, short flange 32 projects into recess 13, completely hidden from view. Now, the end of long flange 31 projects outwardly from beam 12 into position adjacent channel bracket 40. It is bolted to bottom flange 43 of channel bracket 40 by joining bolt 70. As in the other positions, trim piece 80 serves to mask all of this joining system.

In FIG. 5, desk top 11 is tilted at an angle with respect to desk 10. Wing unit 20 is joined to desk in the same manner as shown in FIG. 4. The fact that the face 83 of trim piece 80 is depressed provides sufficient room for the edge of desk top 11 when it is oriented on this slope. Ridge 82 butts up against the edge and provides a neat, trim appearance.

in the broader aspects of this invention, this bracket system could be employed not only with a desk having a remountable top, but also in conjunction with a system having desks of three different heights. Similarly, it is conceivable that the invention could find application in conjunction with unrelated systems, allowing one to join a wing unit from one system to a desk from another system by selecting the proper combination of Z bracket 30 and channel bracket 40 to accmmodate the differing heights.

Of course, it is understood that the above is merely a preferred embodiment of the invention and that various changes and alterations can be made thereof without departing from its spirit and broader aspects.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

l. A furniture system including a wing unit or the like, a desk unit or the like and attaching means for attaching the wing unit to the desk, said attaching means comprising:

a first bracket having first securing means for securing said first bracket to a desk; a second bracket having second securing means for securing said second bracket to a wing unit;

joining means joining said first and second brackets together; one of said first and second brackets including first and second joining points for cooperating with said joining means; said joining means cooperating with said one bracket at one of said first and second joining points; said one bracket being adapted for securing to its respective desk or wing unit with either its first or second joining point in position adjacent the other of said brackets; said first and second joining points being on different levels whereby desks and wing units of several different relative heights can be joined together by effecting an appropriate one of the alternative arrangements of said brackets.

2. The furniture system of claim 1 in which said first and second joining points of said one bracket are on first and second flanges, said first and second flanges projecting away from one another in generally opposite directions whereby when one of said flanges is adjacent said other of said brackets, the other of said flanges projects away therefrom to a position generally beneath its respective desk or wing unit whereby it is gen erally hidden from view.

3. The furniture system ofclaim 2 in which the other of said brackets also includes first and second joining points for cooperating with said joining means; said joining means cooperating with said other bracket at one of its said first and second joining points; said first and second joining points of said other bracket being on different levels.

4. The furniture system of claim 3 in which said first and second joining points of said other bracket are on flanges which are generally parallel to one another and which project towards said one bracket in generally the same direction.

5. The furniture system of claim 1 in which said first and second joining points of said one bracket are on flanges which are generally parallel to one another and which project towards said one bracket in generally the same direction.

6. A furniture system including a wing unit or the like, a desk or the like, and attaching means for attaching the wing unit to the desk, said attaching means comprising: a first bracket having first and second generally parallel flanges projecting in generally opposite directions and being joined by a step flange therebetween; means on said first flange for securing said first bracket to the top of said desk or the like with said second flange projecting either forwardly in the direction of the front of said top or rearwardly away therefrom; a second bracket having a base and a flange projecting generally laterally from said base, said base including means for securing said second bracket to said wing unit with said flange either above or below said base; joining means for joining said second bracket flange alternatively to either said first flange or said second flange of said first bracket whereby desks and wing units of several different relative heights can be joined together.

7. The furniture system of claim 6 in which said desk top includes a recess on the underside thereof; said first bracket being adapted to be secured to said desk top with said step flange and said second flange projecting alternatively either downwardly and forwardly from said first flange, generally towards the front edge of said desk top, or upwardly and rearwardly from said first flange, generally away from the front edge of said desk top; said recess being positioned such that when said step flange and second flange are oriented upwardly and rearwardly from said first flange, they are positioned in said recess.

8. The furniture system of claim 7 in which said second bracket is generally channelshaped, having a top flange and a bottom flange projecting laterally from said base flange, said top and bottom flanges projecting in the same direction, generally towards said desk; said joining means including means for joining alternatively either said top or said bottom flange of said secorid bracket to either said first or second flange of said first bracket.

9. The furniture system of claim 8 which includes a trim piece, said trim piece including means for securing to said wing unit and a face flange projecting from the end of said wing unit above said second bracket whereby said second bracket and said joining means joining said first and second brackets are masked from view by said trim piece.

10. The furniture system of claim 9 in which said trim piece includes a ridge which is generally flush with the top surface of said wing unit, said face flange projecting from said ridge on a lower level than said top of said wing unit whereby said desk top can be tilted forwardly with its lower front edge positioned below the level of said wing unit top, generally adjacent said face flange of said trim piece.

11. The furniture system of claim 6 in which said second bracket is generally channel-shaped, having a top flange and a bottom flange projecting laterally from said base flange, said top and bottom flanges projecting in the same. direction, generally towards said desk; said joining means including means for joining alternatively either said top or said bottom flange of said second bracket to either said first or second flange of said first bracket.

12. The furniture system of claim 6 which includes a jecting from said ridge on a lower level than said top of trim piece, said trim piece including means for securing to said wing unit and a face flange projecting from the end of said wing unit above said second bracket whereby said second bracket and said joining means joining said first and second brackets are masked from view by said trim piece.

13. The furniture system of claim 12 in which said trim piece includes a ridge which is generally flush with the top surface of said wing unit, said face flange prosaid wing unit whereby said desk top can be tilted forwardly with its lower front edge positioned below the level of said wing unit top, generally adjacent said face flange of said trim piece.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2906574 *Oct 17, 1955Sep 29, 1959Steelcase IncAnchor bar means for joining metal furniture tops
US3192884 *Jun 12, 1963Jul 6, 1965Hamilton Cosco IncDesk structure
US3207097 *Oct 31, 1963Sep 21, 1965Art Metal IncOffice equipment
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4163592 *Oct 12, 1977Aug 7, 1979George Nelson & CompanyFurniture units with L-shaped panel supports
US6615747 *Oct 9, 2001Sep 9, 2003Rieke Office InteriorsModular workstation
US8079655Jun 11, 2008Dec 20, 2011Haworth, Inc.Furniture system
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/280, 312/281
International ClassificationF16B12/14, F16B12/00, A47B17/00, A47B17/03
Cooperative ClassificationF16B12/14, A47B17/03
European ClassificationA47B17/03, F16B12/14